Action/Drama/Thriller | Amazon Studios | Episodes: 8 | Rated: R
Created By: David DiGilio
Starring: Chris Pratt, Taylor Kitsch, Constance Wu, Riley Keogh, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Arlo Mertz
Synopsis: When his entire platoon is killed during a highly covert mission, a former Navy SEAL officer begins to investigate what went wrong, and to seek justice on who were involved.
With a sea of options in the streaming series department it can often be hard to stand out. Military based series have also been done for years. So, it can be assumed you have seen pretty much everything in the realm of cover-ops, agency conspiracies, and government cover-ups. The question is…does The Terminal List manage to rise above the plethora of other series in this genre? My answer would be…not really. However, I would contend that there are significant pieces that work very well for action fans. The main issues lie in the story that despite a plot that is ripe for relentless motive doesn’t fully explore much from outside of a surface level, or maybe two.
Chris Pratt does engulf himself in this role and he embodies the broken war hero looking for answers. He has issues with his mind that are explored in the plot and while early in the series these flashbacks to his happy family life, and his untimely manic episodes do intrigue. The repetitive use of them as it progresses through its eight episodes does begin to feel fatiguing with a dwindled dramatic effect. Where other series will dive into its story to examine its many layers and moving pieces. The Terminal List is more an action movie told with an episodic progression. This same story could’ve been told to more engaging effect had it been given a full-feature treatment in the fashion of something along the lines of Lone Survivor.
The action sequences are enjoyable. They are gritty, bloody, and delightfully intricate for genre fans who enjoy bloody knife fights, gunplay, hand-to-hand combat. Pratt goes all in, and he does make the series more compelling. It’s one of his more well-rounded performances. He carries the emotional tone as best as he can. But there are a few too many episodes that equal frequent lulls as the story progresses through a rather simplistic plotline with an unnecessarily methodical approach. Pratt’s character is a killing machine with a hit-list and the pace should have reflected something more full-throttle rather than relying too many times on the same few emotional cords.
Despite its weakness, I will say there is fun to be found in the action department. With such a long runtime though, it doesn’t feel like there is enough of it. Taylor Kitsch who I think is a tad underrated delivers a tried-and-true performance and I really enjoyed his natural chemistry with Pratt. I also felt Constance Wu leaves an impression and does bring noticeable energy and charisma to a rather cut-and-dry character on paper. Jai Courtney plays well to the tropes of his villainous character, with film legend Jeanne Tripplehorn doing much the same. So overall I would say the cast boosts the impact and the intrigue of the otherwise thinly written narrative.
Final Verdict: The Terminal List plays as a series when it should have formatted itself as a movie. There are some pacing issues as it over explores rather straightforward emotional elements. But when the violence kicks in the energy does ramp up effectively. Pratt also feels seemingly perfect for the role and he without question captures the killing machine that Reece is. Some of the story layers could’ve been explored with more of a fine-tooth comb to build a more engaging mystery as Pratt embarks on his mission of revenge. It’s also a bit doom and gloom in places, but the Rambo vibe of this tale of military conspiracy does have its merits.
Anthony J. Digioia II © 2022 SilverScreen Analysis. All Rights Reserved.